Pokemon Go Players Are Using Their Buddies To Send Each Other Messages

Do you nickname your Pokemon? I did when I was a kid – although they were quite off the wall nicknames like ‘PkmnPink’ the Typhlosion – then grew out of it as a teenager. Coming back to the series with Pokemon X, I started nicknaming again: I’m not too cool to show my buddies some love.

Whether your nicknames are incredibly well-thought out or bafflingly stupid (looking at you, ‘Xolotl’ the Yamper and ‘long’ the Ekans respectively), it’s a big part of playing through the main series games and bonding with the Pokemon on your team. However, things are a bit different in Pokemon Go.

First of all, you don’t have a party, just a box of thousands of creatures. Are you going to nickname them all? I’ll admit, my nicknames in Go are a little bit boring, and a lot bit functional. I’ll pop the IVs of Go Battle League ‘mons as their nickname, and before Niantic implemented the change that allowed you to hold your finger on a Pokemon to check its moves, I’d add an asterisk to indicate if a Pokemon knew a Legacy move. Horribly functional, but ‘1/15/15*’ tells me everything I need to know about Swampert at a glance.

However, running down my friends list to send some gifts got me thinking about nicknames. Some players go traditional: ‘Cutie’ the Togepi. Others go practical: ‘ML12’ the Giratina, indicating that the legendary is ranked 12 in the Master League. But some name their Pokemon after items or times of day. What’s that about?

Pokemon Go has no messaging system, but a lot of systems that require coordination. Trading and raiding both require players to communicate with each other, and yet there is no messaging in place to make things happen. Players also like to coordinate when they use items like Lucky Eggs to double the experience earned when leveling up friendship. Suddenly, hitting Best Friends gives you 200,000 EXP – a significant boost at any level – but your 30-minute egg needs to be active at the precise moment your friend opens your gift.

Communities on Discord and Facebook have popped up to coordinate such things, but not all players know about or use those applications. So, they pop it in their buddy Pokemon’s nickname. After all, if someone is about to open your gift that will level up your friendship, they will be looking at your profile, and see your buddy’s name. If your buddy is named ‘Egg 11BST Sat’, they might just get the message that you’re cracking a Lucky Egg for Community Day, and delay their gift opening a couple of days to help you out.

These days, my friends list is filled with half-acquaintances or people from Facebook groups who I have never even met. I’ve never used this method of getting in touch with other players before, but it makes a lot of sense, especially since Niantic’s pandemic bonuses have improved remote play. How am I supposed to contact these people on my friends list in any other way?

Pokemon Go players have created their own code, their own way of communicating with each other to get around the game’s limitations. They did it before, by naming Pokemon with their stats when there was no easy way to check in battle menus, and they’re doing it to coordinate Lucky Eggs and trades with each other now.

Rumours persist about Niantic integrating Discord or creating their own messaging system to incorporate into Pokemon Go, but until then, players will find clever and creative ways to communicate with each other in-game. Also, I’m kinda growing to love little Egg 11am, so maybe that name will stick.

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